D.J. LeMahieu (Harwich Mariners 08)
The free agent market is heating up. After a blockbuster trade went down between the Indians and Mets for superstar shortstop, Francisco Lindor, New York’s counterparts in pinstripes find themselves with plenty of competition for infielder D.J. LeMahieu (Harwich Mariners ‘08). The Yankee standout of the past two years enjoyed a breakout season while setting personal bests in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.421), slugging percentage (.590), and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.011). The versatile gold-glover turned down an $18.9 million qualifying offer from his former club in order to test the open market. Teams such as the Dodgers and Blue Jays appear to be the finalists for LeMahieu if he doesn’t sign a multi-year deal in New York.
Although it would make the most sense if the two-time Silver Slugger award winner went back to the Bronx, it isn’t out of the question that Los Angeles or Toronto will spend more in an effort to make a big splash. Considering the San Diego Padres have already made major acquisitions to become contenders in the National League, the Dodgers may want to counter those moves with a signing like LeMahieu who would step in at the hot corner for last year’s MLB champions.
For the Blue Jays, if they could land LeMahieu it would provide them with an elite hitter and defensive utilityman, joining a young talented squad involving Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio (Harwich Mariners ‘15), and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. This would certainly add some fireworks in Toronto as they look to battle it out in one of the best divisions in baseball.
Back in New York, not only has LeMahieu arguably been the team’s best player the last couple of seasons, but losing an athlete of his caliber would mean depth issues around the diamond. With Luke Voit (Harwich Mariners ‘11) and Gio Urshela able to man the corners, New York would remain iffy with middle infield options behind Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade. The Yankees could instead look to sign a replacement in free agency or turn to one of their prospects or minor leaguers. However, the organization would almost certainly take a hit in terms of offensive and defensive production if LeMahieu were to sign elsewhere. It could ultimately come down to a three-way bidding war to land the star player who could easily make north of $20 million per year. Let the mayhem begin!